Cougars fall to Bruins’ top spots on the road

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Belmont took a 23-9 advantage after the first quarter on Saturday and never looked back, running away from SIUE 88-50 in Ohio Valley Conference women’s basketball.

SIUE fell to 10-17 overall and 6-10 in OVC play.

“Belmont are top of the league, and you have them at home, you have to be ready to play,” the SIUE head coach said. Samantha Quigley Smith noted. “You have to value every possession and we didn’t get enough of that today.”

After SIUE scored the first field goal, the Bruins used separate 7-0 and 9-0 series to lead 16-4 with 3:20 remaining.

“The best teams can do that to you,” Smith said. “We needed to get more consecutive saves.”

SIUE played a much improved second quarter, but Belmont was leading 54-25 at halftime and SIUE could never close the gap.

“I’m proud of how we kept fighting,” Smith added. “We didn’t give up.

The Cougars used 14 players and 12 players had at least one point or one rebound. Mikia Keith led the way with nine points. Mikaila Kinnard scored eight points and Ajulu Thatha and Mikala room each scored seven points.

There were definitely opportunities there,” Smith said. “(Mikala) Hall brought energy and Sara found herself in the grove. It’s all really beneficial.”

Belmont hit 57% of his shots for the game, and the Bruins were over 60% from the field in the first and fourth quarters.

Five Belmont players, including four starters, scored in double figures. Conley Chinn led the Bruins with 20 points on 8-for-11 shooting. Madison Barley and Destinee Wells each had 16 points. Tessa Miller scored 10 points and completed a rebound before a double-double.

The Bruins forced 21 turnovers and scored 26 points on SIUE giveaways.

The Cougars went both games this week without the third leading scorer and leading rebounder Allie Troeckler.

“We missed Allie and we’re excited to have her back for her final home games,” Smith said.

The Cougars enter the final week of the season after earning a spot in the OVC Tournament and are currently the No. 7 seed.

“I’m proud of our team, of having put themselves in a position to do the post-season, but also of not having settled down. We will continue to work the next days and the next games.”

SIUE will face Austin Peay on Thursday and Morehead State on Saturday to close out the regular season at First Community Arena.

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